When it comes to generating leads, my clients tend to have a love-hate relationship with Yelp (depending on their location and overall review rating, some do get quite a few!).
Lead analysis is one of the services I offer. This past fall, I began to notice something interesting as I took a closer look at the leads a particular client was generating from Yelp. They were receiving quite a few (that’s promising, right?), but after taking an even deeper dive I discovered that the actual closing rate was way below their average.
With the help of my client, we found a potential problem: Yelp Messenger. We discovered that when a consumer clicks to message a company on Yelp and then fills out a request for service, Yelp auto-checks 3 other related service providers to get bids from as well!
In fact, the Yelp user can select up to 10 within seconds. I think most consumers will never uncheck (or even notice!) the other boxes, and will simply hit the “Request Quotes” button.
There are several problems with this system:
- It encourages every consumer to get a minimum of 4 bids. I do not think that everyone these days has the time to get 4+ estimates for work. If they do, let them do their own research and decide who those bids should come from (and when).
- Even if you are a paid advertiser on Yelp, the system works the same way.
- Yelp doesn’t play favorites when they serve up other service providers – it is a random selection. This benefits Yelp’s sales team by allowing them to use that data when calling on contractors who are not advertising with them, showing them their profile is getting viewed!
Here is the Current Solution
If you just need leads, do nothing. Leave the messenger on. You’ll probably just deal with at least 3-4 other contractors when you bid a project, making your bid a tougher sell.
For the rest of you, turn off your message center and send consumers to your website to contact you.
I have reached out to my Yelp reps and expressed my concern multiple times. I have actually gotten a few of them to understand my concern and agree that it is not the best. I’ve heard rumors of changes coming! Until those changes are made, just turn off messaging within the “Inbox” settings of your business account.